Foul-Weather Friend

A work of fiction submitted for the prompt: Flow

I was gasping for much-needed air to fill in my lungs, looked up to my tutor and said, “can we take a break for a moment? I start to feel light-headed.”

She sighed deeply and headed to the other side of the room. In a flick of her hand, she caught two glasses from thin air, “one last time before the break, conjure some water in at least one of them.”

I tried to concentrate as hard as my tired mind can take me. I took one glass from her hand and imagined pure mineral water running fervently filling in the glass, only to be able to fill the glass with what I reckon four drops of water. Exasperatedly, I pleaded, “I’m so sorry, Cassie, I’m seriously exhausted. Can we please just take a moment to breathe?”

She reluctantly nodded, and took a seat on the floor, as she effortlessly filled both our glasses with enough water, which I gulped down a little too fast that I choked for a bit. She made her way to pat me on the back and told me to drink some more, but slowly. I recovered myself, joining her to sit down and rest my head against the wall. Through my peripheral vision, I noticed that she looked at me almost apologetically, which I have the decency to avoid because pity is the last thing I want to receive today after all the self-loathe I have directed at myself for not being able to progress at all.

In case you are wondering, what I have been trying to practice is wandless magic. And yes, I am a wizard by the name Justus. Unfortunately, my name does sound as pretentious as my status as a wizard, which I am currently trying to uphold. It seems like the practical thing to do after I broke my wand in two in the middle of nowhere, not to mention that I am lost and can’t seem to remember anything that happened to me before except for my name, my magical qualities and another name, Augur Auden, whom by his title is a Seer.

I stumbled upon a cave and tried to settle there for a while to avoid the heavy rain. My hunch on the weather is weirdly always right, but I probably am never one to possess the prowess to conjure magic without my wand, even when I was about to be taken down by a group of trolls who thought I was a willing, sacrificial dinner. That was when I met Cassie, who petrified the trolls for at least three days already by now. Wandless.

I learnt that Cassie was also on her way to see Augur Auden as well, and that she was on a secret mission she is not willing to share with me. After a day full of persuasion and pleas, using both pity (come on, I wouldn’t be able to live had you not stopped them. How do you think I’m going to survive out there once the rain ends?) and reason (yes, I understand you don’t have to dwell in the trouble of teaching me anything, but we are going to be stuck here for no one knows when), she acceded to teach me wandless magic. It goes without saying that I have failed not only to entertain her by emitting no signs of hope with my skills, but also to add into her annoyance for being stuck with a stranger she possibly suspected as a poser.

“How do you do that?”

She perked up her ears, “sorry, what?”

“I mean,” I began, “how is it that you can do that almost as if it’s just natural to you? With so much ease.”

“It is natural for us to do magic, Justus,” she replied, “please don’t take it in a bad way. Actually, part of the reason why I was hesitant to help you apart from the fact that we don’t know each other, is because I have always felt it flowing from me with or without a wand. When I lost mine, I didn’t worry too much about being unable to do magic, nor did I care for the stigma of how shameful it is for a witch to be deprived from possessing and using her wand. In all honesty, I felt almost liberated. And I have no idea how it feels to be so constrained without a wand.”

She added, “I apologize once again if I sound obnoxious. If it doesn’t work out still, it’s probably just because I am not a proper teacher, a lot more than you not learning well enough.”

“You… you lost your wand on a trial? It was taken away from you forcibly?” I inquired.

“Yes,” she answered curtly, seemingly not willing to elaborate why, which is fair.

I broke the silence that ensued by a chuckle. “It’s funny, really. How one is supposed to have magic as part of their natural instinct, how it manifests strongly when one was provoked or endangered as a wee baby or a helpless child, but then gradually it seemed like it’s almost worn out and we seem to rely our powers on this one tool that is as much as a companion. It gives us… structure… but then also dependence on it to function. Now that it’s lost, it’s hard for me to go back to those days, when it just flows and curiosity gets the best of me to try.”

Cassie took a moment before replying, “It’d be difficult to forgo the structure, but you can still try to imagine that it’s still there, through your fingertips.”

I looked at her intently as she again took the empty glass. “Like when you learn to focus on a spell on your wand, try that on the tip of your fingers,” she diverted her gaze onto the glass, “suppose it running through your veins, and as it touched the glass, murmur the spell and turn it into water,” and the water fills the glass again, “like this.”

I gripped the glass and closed my eyes, hoping it will help me concentrate and did it right this time. Cassie was right; the magic runs in us wizards and witches. It’s not bound by possession of a wand. If anything, it might explain my accurate inklings of the weather.

I tried to focus on summoning as much amount of magic I believe I have, and directed it into my left arm, holding the glass. I felt the flux as it seem to seep in my fingers. With a desperate wish, I whispered slowly, “Vloeien.”

I heard Cassie gasped, followed with what I assume is gleeful chortle. I opened my eyes, and found water is filling my glass. I let out a sigh of relief, and take a sip.

“Well, at least it doesn’t taste like a troll’s piss,” I remarked.

Cassie shrugged, “if you say so, I’ll conjure my own water for myself, thanks. And, you probably need some rest so you can try more spells tomorrow. I’ll take first watch.”

“Thank you,” I said quietly.

As I drifted off to sleep in the humid cave, I reckon I could tell her that the rain will stop for at least three more days before a huge one the next day which would result to a flood. Yes, I am aware I will need to deal with the possible rage from her about the fact that I, unlike no one else, know for how long we were going to be stuck in the cave, and argue that it really wasn’t wasted for nothing. Let’s just hope I will improve my wandless protection charm tremendously when tomorrow comes.

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